In a surprising turn of events, OpenAI announced on Friday that CEO Sam Altman has been fired, following a thorough review process by the board. The company cited Altman’s lack of consistent candor in communications with the board as the reason for his dismissal, stating that it hindered the board’s ability to fulfill its responsibilities. The board expressed a loss of confidence in Altman’s capacity to lead OpenAI moving forward.
Interim CEO Appointed Amidst Uncertainty
In response to Altman’s departure, OpenAI has appointed Chief Technology Officer Mira Murati as the interim CEO, effective immediately. The company plans to conduct a search for a permanent successor to lead OpenAI into its next chapter. When questioned by The Verge, OpenAI’s communications department declined to provide additional comments beyond the information presented in the official blog post.
Altman, who has been a prominent figure as the face of OpenAI, shared his sentiments on X (formerly Twitter), stating, “I loved my time at OpenAI. It was transformative for me personally, and hopefully the world a little bit. Most of all, I loved working with such talented people. Will have more to say about what’s next later.” The abrupt announcement reportedly caught OpenAI employees off guard, learning of the news simultaneously with the public.
i loved my time at openai. it was transformative for me personally, and hopefully the world a little bit. most of all i loved working with such talented people.— Sam Altman (@sama) November 17, 2023
will have more to say about what’s next later.
In his departure post, Altman did not specify the reason for leaving but alluded to future endeavors. Reports suggest he has been in the process of raising a venture capital fund focused on “hard tech,” although it remains unclear if this initiative played a role in his exit from OpenAI.
OpenAI’s co-founder and president, Greg Brockman, is also undergoing a change in responsibilities. While stepping down as chairman of the board, he will remain with the company. However, hours after the announcement, Brockman revealed on X that he had quit “based on today’s news.”
This unexpected development comes at a crucial time for OpenAI, which recently showcased major updates during its first-ever DevDay conference, led by Altman. Microsoft, a significant investor in OpenAI, expressed continued commitment to its partnership with the company despite the leadership changes.
Altman, a co-founder of OpenAI, had initially served as co-chair alongside Elon Musk, who left in 2018. Altman has been a key figure in shaping OpenAI’s profile, particularly with the release of ChatGPT. His departure leaves the company navigating a period of uncertainty, with the board restructuring to adapt to the changes.